Hands are your Weapons in Youth Football Blocking
Many youth football offensive line coaches are still teaching shoulder blocks to their pee wee football players. After watching a COOL clinic DVD on blocking by an NFL line coach several years ago, I was sold on using hands and leverage in youth football blocking, especially focusing on punch blocking with thumbs up and then manipulating the elbows and armpits / shoulder of your defensive opponents. This new hands strategy worked well for me at the time, because one of my assistant coaches was a black belt in karate and he was able to explain some of the key points when punching and using leverage on an opponent.
Your hands are your Weapons is what I keep repeating to my youth football players. Quick hands and a little “Violent Shoving” will win the blocking battle on offense. When I first introduce using your hands and violent shoving in practice, I pick a few volunteers and I ask the players to shove me like someone stole their XBOX and want it back. Its amazing how hard the will shove you when you do not put it into football terms, like punch me or block me. I think the football terms are so new its hard for them to add it all up at once.
Whichever team uses their hands better and desires to dominate their opponent will usually win the battle in the trenches. Yes, I said dominate. An offensive lineman needs to take pleasure in seeing their opponent on the ground from a standing position over their opponent dominating them. I have my offensive lineman yell “Superman” when they put someone on their “bootocky.” We listen for it and it also tells our off lineman to go find another defensive player.
Here are two videos I found today on teaching youth football blocking techniques; Drive, Reach and Down blocks.
Let me know your thoughts, techniques and drills for youth football blocking.
Fort Worth, Texas
Good stuff man. I’ve been trying to teach my kids that same technique. Takes a little time at first but once they get it we run some downsouth power football.
WHY WE BLOCK WITH HANDS RATHER THAN SHOULDER:
JOE JACOBY (famous member of the Redskins “HOGS”): “Use ARM PUMP & PUNCH! It’s a violent game – the arm pump & punch puts everything in motion. Flipper creates “grabbing areas” for them to go around. You PUNCH them – they are taught to do the SAME thing (jabbing their hands at YOU). Football is a HAND FIGHT. Quoted Joe Bugel – “where else can you go out and punch somebody in the mouth and not get locked up”? That’s what O & D line play IS, & that’s what you have to teach them! It’s a VIOLENT game – so use EVERYTHING to your advantage. Hands are WEAPONS, USE THEM! The DL doesn’t wear long pads like QB’s, and their RIBS are exposed. “MASSAGE those ribs” (the PUNCH is to the short ribs at the base of the pads). USING YOUR HANDS GIVES THEM LESS TO GRAB”!
#1. LESS LIKELY TO MISS THE TARGET: Blocking with a shoulder or flipper puts you on one side or the other of the defender. Using the HANDS makes it more likely to hit the target (aiming AT or closer to the middle). “Block with your eyes – not your shoulder”!
#2. LESS LIKELY TO FALL OFF BLOCK: Burying your shoulder into a defender puts you beyond your “center of gravity”, making it likely you will lose contact & fall forward to the ground. Makes it difficult to keep your feet UNDER you, & maintain your balance.
#3. MORE LIKELY TO LOSE SIGHT OF LBers: Burying your shoulder into a defender forces your head down, & you will lose SIGHT of LBers, etc., in zone blocking (that you may NEED to come off on).
#4. MORE LIKELY DEFENDER WILL GRAB YOU (if you use shoulder/flipper RATHER than hands) & keep you from coming off the block.
#5. IT IS SAFER. If you lead with your hands, you are less likely to have a head and neck injury. Leading with your shoulder leaves your head and neck more exposed.
RUSS GRIMM (HOF OG with the “HOGS”): “Impose your WILL upon them”!
I am an old school ball player (30 year ago) and am trying to teach my 11 year old hot to block. This was excellent